Monday, July 3, 2017

Sail Away to Alaska -- Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A very long sailboat comes down the fairway at Cap Sante Marina, points toward the slip next to Willie’s Tug, and being a good neighbor, Herb goes out to see if he can help.

Two people are holding the lines, and when Herb offers to help, someone says, “We’re fine.”  We later learn that they are practicing.

That is when we hear one of them talk about who is to jump off to the dock.  A lady comes down to the top step near the stern,  then leaps down the distance of about two feet onto the dock.  A man with the bow line then climbs off.

Another man comes out the helm door and literally jumps down onto the dock. Ouch, that makes my feet hurt just to see it.  He calls out,  “Good job” everyone.

He takes the stern line from the lady, and tells her it needs to be tied straight across to a cleat, and says to Gary, “Could you tie to the cleat by you?  Straight across.”   He demonstrates with his hands and continues to instruct that the bow and stern are to be perpendicular, and the spring lines are to be parallel to the dock.

A little more fine tuning of the lines and they are tied secure.  Again, he says, “Good job.”    And I tell him, “Good teaching.”    He thanks me.

All go back inside the sailboat Northern Star for what I would expect to be ‘ground school.’

Later as we return from errands, the instructor whom we later learn is named Mark, volunteers that they promise not to run the noisy fan all night.  Actually I had not heard it and told him it would be ok, and may just lull us to sleep tonight.

Then I ask him what is going on, curiosity. Mark is from Anacortes, a licensed captain, teaching sail and power boating.  His clients today are a family from Utah who had a cabin in the town of Angoon, located on Admiralty Island, a remote island in Alaska.   Clarence Strait is between Admiralty Island and Baranof Island, where Sitka is.  We and friend Ray remember it well.

The family sold the cabin, but because they love the beautiful area and did not want to leave, they bought the sailboat.  Mark plans to pilot the boat – take them to Ketchikan AK, where they will keep the boat.  He will teach the family sailing all the way there.

Later in the day we see various service people outfit the boat all day long. There is no sign of the family until 7 or 8 in the evening, when they come back with two Port of Anacortes dock carts loaded – I mean loaded – with bags of provisions from Safeway.

We welcome them back and learn that Gary is the father, Kris is the mother, and they are traveling with daughters Krystal and Alyssa, and son in law, Jack.

As soon as they put their purchases away, they tell us they are going to hear Krystal play the piano provided by Cap Sante marina on the main dock.  Krystal plays from the sheet music on her tablet, and Alyssa scrolls the pages down for her.

I ask what she plays and learns it is classical, such as Clare de Lune, and Hymns from their Mormon hymnbook. They name some hymns and we know most of them. I ask who sings, and learn it is their older daughter, April, who is not with them on the trip.

Herb volunteers that the first hymn he learned to play was Sweet Hour of Prayer, so Krystal plays that one for us.  Actually, we all join in singing the songs we know.   She plays many songs for our enjoyment and when we realize it is almost 10 o’clock, we give hugs all around and say Goodnight, as they plan to leave for Ketchikan early tomorrow morning.  We thank Krystal for playing so many songs, and she thanks us all for singing.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Wednesday, June 28, 2017


  1. Hi Friends! This is Alyssa from the Northern Star :D. I have loved reading your blog about us! You were such sweet neighbors and we loved getting to know you. We wrote about you guys too on our blog: I am following you and am excited to hear about your adventures!

    1. Oh, how wonderful to hear from you. Thanks for your comments, and for the link to your blog. I want to follow your awesome trip.
      -- Willie of Willie's Tug